Chris Mascaro
Wednesday November 6th, 2013

(Andy Cross/Getty Images) High school junior Codie Thacker is looking forward to next year's cross country season. (Andy Cross/Getty Images)

A high school cross country runner in Kentucky forfeited her chance to qualify for the state meet because she said it would have gone against her Christian beliefs to run with the assigned race number 666, according to LEX 18, NBC's Lexington, Ky., affiliate.

Junior Codie Thacker of Whitley County High and her coach, Gina Croley, said they tried to get a different number for the regional meet from three different officials but were denied each time.

However, a spokesperson for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association told the TV station that it wasn't brought to officials' attention that the request was due to religious beliefs. Had the officials known that, said the spokesperson, they would have changed the number.

SI WIRE: Middle-school football coach fired for planning a party at Hooters

"I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number," Thacker said, adding that she's been training since June for this race. "I was so nervous, I thought about it all week."

Croley said she knew the number would be an issue for Thacker as soon as she drew it.

"I saw it and I was like, 'Whoa,'" Croley said. "I don't think she will wear that number."

Croley was right.

"I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number," Thacker said.
SI WIRE: Missouri football team forfeits after players choose to attend farming convention

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.